Second Annual Global Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day Honors the Late Founder of Special Olympics

September 22, 2011

For Immediate Release

People all around the world are coming together by "playing unified to live unified"

Washington, D.C. - This Saturday, 24 September, people around the world will unite to celebrate the spirit and legacy of Special Olympics’ late founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS), on the second annual EKS Day by commemorating a day of service in her name.  Eunice Kennedy Shriver dedicated her life to empowering people with intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics and showed the transformative power of sports to unite people of all abilities. 

This Saturday, Eunice Kennedy Shriver is being remembered as Special Olympics athletes, families and fans come together on playing fields all around the world and where everyone is invited to join in by playing unified.  As part of EKS Day, the world is invited to join people with intellectual disabilities and those without as they play together – unified – and teach the world to live unified.

EKS Day is celebrated annually on the fourth Saturday in September. This year, for the second annual worldwide EKS Day, Special Olympics will have activities happening all over the world including:

        • 30 of Special Olympics Bharat’s (India) State programs will host EKS Day events that include sports, unified sports, education, Healthy Athletes, Torch Run and Young Athletes Program. These 30 programs are comprised of many districts, so the impact of EKS Day in India will be highlighted throughout the country with 500,000 supporters, fans, and athletes participating.

        • Special Olympics Namibia will be holding football matches at the FIFA Football for Hope™ Center in Namibia that was dedicated to Eunice Kennedy Shriver during the inaugural EKS Day in 2010.

        • Special Olympics Pakistan will celebrate EKS Day in the cities of Lahore and Karachi with a cricket tournament and dinner with local athletes and youth leaders in honor of Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

        • In Washington, D.C., in partnership with Nickelodeon, Special Olympics Unified Sports® floor hockey and tennis events will take place as part of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play (WWDOP) that encourages active and healthy lifestyles. A special EKS tent will also be on display alongside nearly 50 other partners participating in the event.

In commemoration of Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s dedication and pursuit of inclusion, EKS Day is a global call to action challenging everyone to “play unified to live unified” because she demonstrated that on the playing field, people forget about their differences and recognize our mutual humanity. 

Shriver’s son, and current Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, Dr. Timothy Shriver, said, “Today we are surrounded by nearly 4 million leaders—our Special Olympics’ athletes--who emulate my mother’s vision by leading a joyful transformation, every day.  On EKS Day we ask everyone to join our athletes on the playing field and in life, as we look towards a world that celebrates inclusion, dignity and respect for all.”   

Around the world in over 100 countries, athletes, families, coaches and fans will “play unified, to live unified”, in honor of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. 

Fans can register their local events by going to www.eksday.org, sharing their stories of inclusion on Twitter by using #EKSDay, and by “Liking” Special Olympics on Facebook and inviting their friends to do the same. Our goal is to have one Facebook friend for every one of our 3.75 million athletes!

About Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day
Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day is an annual celebration of her life and a global call challenging everyone to “play unified to live unified” because she taught us that on the playing field, we forget about our differences and recognize our mutual humanity.  On EKS Day, we invite you to join us in playing unified and teaching the world to live unified.  As founder and honorary chairperson of Special Olympics and executive vice president of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a leader in the worldwide struggle to improve and enhance the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities for more than five decades.  Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s actions helped open the minds of all people to the gifts and talents of individuals with intellectual disabilities. She believed in their possibilities, which fuel hope in all of us to make a difference. Eunice Kennedy Shriver demonstrated an unrelenting indomitable spirit in action that one person could make a difference and change the world. Her lasting legacy must be our continued commitment to improve and transform the lives of the 200 million people worldwide with intellectual disabilities who still live with diminished opportunities and social disrespect, and are often neglected and hidden away.  Visit www.eksday.org and www.eunicekennedyshriver.org to learn more.

About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.7 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs.  Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all over the world and in the community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard.  Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on:Twitter @specialolympics; fb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq, and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.

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Contact:

Mandy Murphy
+1-202-824-0227     
mamurphy@specialolympics.org

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